Graham Bailey, vice president of public relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
Bailey believes cost is the central problem.
“I think there is a misconception out there that the insurance industry is some way the villain. A health care premium just reflects the cost of health care,” he said.
Bailey said last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas paid $1.86 billion in health care costs, covering 20.2 million claims.
“So, this idea that insurers are out there making huge profits and not paying claims is just incorrect,” he said. “The problem with our health care system is that the cost of health care is too high, that makes insurance too high and that makes it unaffordable for people. So, we have to change that.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas favors legislation that would require everyone to carry health insurance and insurers would have to take anybody wanting health insurance.
“Only when we get all of the players in the game, can we absolutely make sure that we’ve everyone covered,” he said.
“The second thing is that we have just got to figure out new payment mechanisms. Right now, there are no barriers for people to receive health care and for health care providers to give health care. The more services they do, the more money they make.”
“We need to start creating some sort of a payment philosophy where we pay health care providers to keep people healthy and to give them an incentive to keep people healthy, and I think that’s going to be what’s going to have an effect on health care costs.”
Bailey’s biggest fear is that a government-run insurance plan will drive private companies out of business.
“We are not going to be able to compete with it because they will pay lower rates to physicians and hospitals, along the scope of where Medicare pays. And then, the private insurers will be gone and you will just have a national health insurance program with no choice and no place to go if you are unhappy.”
Kansans weigh in on health care reform
- Have your say.
- Graham Bailey, vice president of public relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
- Rod Bremby, Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- Corrie Edwards, executive director, Kansas Health Consumer Coalition
- Jerry Kemberling, Unemployed, Lawrence
- Gene Meyer, CEO/president, Lawrence Memorial Hospital
- Marcia Nielsen, vice chancellor for public policy and planning, Kansas University Medical Center
- Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner
- Jon Stewart, Director, LEO Center
- Judy Bellome, executive director of Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care
- Dr. Alan Cowles, Social Security disability benefits advocate
- Marcia Epstein, director of Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence
- Dr. David Goering, medical director for Health Care Access
- Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care
- Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department director
- Margie Wakefield, small business owner